Cigar's Place New York Times
Published: November 23, 1986
To the Editor: While in Europe recently, my wife and I were frequently overwhelmed by cigar smoke in some of the finest restaurants, such as L'Oasis in Brussels where five of six people at the next table created blue clouds of fragrant Cuban smog during our very expensive (and otherwise excellent) main course. When our famous chef dropped by to inquire as to our satisfaction, we protested.
''Ah, nothing to do,'' he said. ''It is the custom.'' Not always true, we found out. At the outstanding restaurant of the Pre Fleuri, a delightful small hotel in St.-Sulpice, outside of Lausanne, we found a card on our table showing a smoking cigarette and politely asking diners to ''pensez a vos voisins de table et a . . . la gastronomie'' (''think of the person sitting next to you and of . . . gastronomy''). The card further explained that the hotel's smoking room was at one's service for coffee, brandy and the enjoyment of cigars.
Sure enough, no one smoked in the dining room. It would be a major step forward for gastronomic excellence if other restaurants adopted this sensible custom. WILLIAM LANSING PLUMB New York
You know I haven't been spending much time there lately, they've got me down in D.C. I'm shining a seat with my ass.